Why Smaller Ovens Are Actually Better

The latest wave of kitchen appliances disproves the typical American belief that bigger is better. New multi-oven designs from AGA demonstrate that smaller ovens provide far bigger benefits in terms of energy efficiency, cooking versatility and performance than traditional single oven designs.

Consumers often look for the biggest oven they can buy, assuming it equates to better cooking performance. When really, all that capacity is completely unnecessary for the typical family meal, and it’s limiting when you want to cook more than one dish at the same time.

More ovens, less wasteful energy use

The most efficient way to cook, multi-oven ranges maximize the kitchen footprint by splitting the cooking cavity into separate ovens, each with its own temperature control. This offers versatility to cook items large or small using only the ovens required, which conserves energy compared to heating one large cavity every time. It’s this resourceful design that earned AGA multi-oven ranges a European efficiency rating of A or higher.

Multi-oven multi-tasking

People who entertain frequently will find multi-oven designs offer the most cooking versatility in a kitchen range. Rather than juggling cook times and temperatures for a Thanksgiving dinner, a full meal can be prepared simultaneously.

The swiss army knife of cooking appliances, AGA multi-oven ranges are designed to be a major workhorse in the kitchen. Three separate ovens provide European convection, 7-mode multifunction cooking and dual-element broiling. And, our ovens are capable of fitting a 25-lb turkey.

Simultaneous cooking with no flavor transfer

Roasting a chicken and baking a cake at the same time can prove to be a challenge with single oven designs. Not only is there only one temperature setting, but sputtering sauces or drippings can mix between dishes and affect taste. And, the convection heat of most single oven ranges carries food moisture throughout the oven cavity. That means the flavor and smells of items can intermix when cooking more than one dish in the oven, particularly with absorbent foods. With separate ovens, there’s no concern of transferring smells or flavors.

“Typically weekday dinners are prepared on the stovetop since oven cooking may not accommodate lifestyle or time available for cooking the family meal,” explains AGA Chef Ambassador Kurt von Kahle. “A smaller oven heats up quickly to assist with both, the side dishes and provide speed in preparing the 30 minute meal. The versatility of the cooking functions in smaller ovens can work well for family dinner plans and expand menu options.”

Fortunately, buyers looking to expand their cooking capabilities at home have a wide selection of options to choose from on the multi-oven platform. Appliance manufacturers like AGA offer 36″, 44″ and 48″ induction and dual fuel multi-oven ranges with assorted design options, including retro, ultra-contemporary, French chic and professional-style.

With more education, consumers will soon discover that multi-oven ranges can do more for them than the average single oven range, and the tide will change.

Why Smaller Ovens Are Actually Better

ALEG-36-DF 36" AGA Legacy Range shown in use

mercury-full

AGA Elise 48" Dual Fuel Range

SHOP THE LOOK

10 Healthy Meal Ideas for the AGA Cast Iron Range

10 Healthy AGA Meals

On my last post, I was joined by leading health and wellness expert, registered dietitian, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD, to talk about how best to cook your food for maximum nutrition and natural flavor. Here are 10 examples of this practice in action.

1. Overnight oatmeal

I start my day off with a bang with this hearty breakfast of steel cut oats, left to cook in the simmering oven while I sleep.  Considering I’m not much of a morning person, the idea of waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal with my favorite mix-ins is enough to throw off the comforter and hup-two my way to breakfast.

aga-overnight-oatmeal

2. Oil-free eggs

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth saying again. You can cook up an egg without oil or butter, just by placing Bake-O-Glide atop the simmering plate. Crack the egg, close the hob for a few minutes, slide off with a spatula and grab your fork…breakfast is ready!

aga-oil-free-eggs

3. Roasted Mediterranean vegetables

Root vegetables are a favorite of Ruth’s for their nutritional content. Just toss cut vegetables with a light coat of olive oil, thyme and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a delicious and hearty side.

aga-roasted-root-vegetables

4. Easy roast chicken

A staple for family dinners, the AGA cooks up a succulent bird without using ANY oil or butter.

AGA Food

5. Fast fish

Packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids, fish is a fast fix in the AGA. To broil flat fish, just brush its surface very lightly with oil or butter, arrange on a full or half-size AGA meat tin and place on the top runner of the roasting oven to broil until it flakes apart with a fork. Alternatively, pan grill meatier fish in a matter of minutes using a preheated AGA cast iron grill pan atop the boiling plate. Serve with a mango salsa or green sauce for a punch of flavor.

aga-pan-fried-fish

6. Steamed vegetables 

Quick-boil your favorite vegetables, then transfer (lidded) to the simmering oven to finish steaming. Add herbs for flavor.

aga-steamed-vegetables aga-steamed-vegetables_002

7. Quintessential rice

The magic in the preparation is that it’s EASY.  Once the water comes to a boil, I transfer the covered pot to the simmering oven to leave untouched, no need to stir or tend to it.  I can have it ready in 20 minutes or leave it longer without burning or drying the rice, which means I can comfortably turn my attention to prepping other meal items while it fluffs up on my schedule. Mix in a protein and diced vegetables for a one-dish wonder.  Bonus: it’s gluten-free!

rice_dish

8. Speedy stir fry

Toss your favorite vegetables into a preheated AGA cast iron wok with a bit of oil or sauce for nourishing eats in short order.

a

9. Grilled skewers 

Stack a colorful array of vegetables and meat on individual skewers and set to sizzle in a preheated AGA grill pan. Grill until the meat cooks through, and you have yourself a taste of summer all year long.

aga-grilled-skewers

10. Quick quesadilla pizza 

Layer a tortilla with pizza toppings and heat directly on the simmering plate. Load up on vegetables and limit the cheese for extra nutrition points!

quesadilla-pizza

See, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to relegate yourself to a diet of grass clippings!  The AGA helps you mind your waistline with its gentle cast iron radiant heat cooking method.  It’s the far more satisfying (and easy) way to up your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while also reducing the dependency on oils, sugars and fat to flavor food…no sacrifice to the taste experience necessary.

BROWSE THE AGA CAST IRON COLLECTION >>

Why AGA cast iron cooking is healthier for you

The Nutritional Merits of AGA Cast Iron Cooking

I strive to be healthy. Alright, yes, leave me in a room alone with a platter of cookies and I’ll tear into them like a velociraptor, but for the most part I try to become better educated on nutrition and make healthier food choices. Fortunately for me, I already have a leg up with my AGA simply by the way it cooks food.

ruth-lahmayer-chipps

Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD is a media spokesperson, writer, culinary consultant and registered dietitian, Ruth has made over 150 national media appearances, including CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, Glamour, Health Magazine, Shape Magazine and Today’s Dietitian, among other widely-recognized publications.

Allow me to explain with the help of fellow AGA owner and leading health and nutrition expert, nationally-recognized registered dietitian, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD.

AGA Preserves Nutrients. 

“Nutrition goals from health organizations recommend five to seven servings from fruits and vegetables per day. As people strive to eat more produce, it’s critical that they also consider the method of cooking used in order to maximize their nutritional benefit,” Ruth explains.

The way you cook your food directly impacts the nutrition content you consume. You can start with a lovely bunch of raw, nutrient-packed vegetables and easily destroy their healthfulness with high, direct heat.  Fry your vegetables in high heat, and you’ll risk losing important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.  Direct heat also can destroy vital omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA.

Therefore, to maximize your nutritional intake, eating foods raw, boiled or steamed is always best. Some studies suggest, however, that cooking certain foods like tomatoes, carrots and spinach allows healthful antioxidants to become more available to the body than in their raw state.

Using cast iron radiant heat, the AGA delivers the most ideal cooking method to gently steam and quick-boil food to retain nutrients and moisture. Carrots are a good example—the AGA keeps their true flavor, nutrition content and vibrant orange color as they are cooked to softness—not mush.


aga-steamed-carrots

Steamed carrots – simply boil carrots in a small amount of water, toss with only enough oil or butter to coat and sprinkle on parsley for a fresh, sweet flavor. Look at this fantastic coloration!

aga-carrot-bruschetta

Carrot bruschetta – Heat shredded carrot with oil in a pan on the boiling plate with garlic, chili and cumin seeds for a few minutes. Stir in coriander after cooling.


AGA Reduces Salt, Sugar and Oil Intake. 

ruth-lahmayer-chipps-aga-total-control

Ruth uses a cream AGA Total Control for cast iron cooking in her own kitchen and would not have it any other way.

Otherwise known as the “troublesome trio”, these culprits are known to negatively impact health, especially with excessive consumption. Unfortunately, these are the same components that tend to bring flavor to foods we enjoy.

“A big problem in the kitchen is often the over-usage of oils while cooking, which can add hundreds of calories to our meals. For example, one tablespoon of olive oil has about 119 calories!” Ruth explains.

For those of us raised on conventional ranges, we expect to have to use butter or oil, salty seasonings and sugar to flavor food to be tasty.  Why? Convection ranges employ direct heating elements and a fan to circulate heat, a harsh cooking environment that can dry out food and compromise flavor. Most of us don’t know there is a vastly different way to experience food until they eat AGA food.

Simply by cooking with an AGA alone, you can reduce your “troublesome trio” intake by 1/3 or more.  This is because the cast iron AGA uses radiant heat to cook food gently and consistently, preserving the natural moisture and flavor of food. That means you can taste food for how it is intended to taste by nature, rather than masking it with loads of butter and seasonings.

why-cast-iron-cooking-healthier

Ruth is busy developing new recipes for Kitchen Icons, chef-inspired appliance and kitchen design/build company, and has noticed the AGA difference herself.

“I have been amazed at the intense flavor that is derived from foods cooked in the AGA.”

For overall healthy cooking, she shares this philosophy, “When considering your next nutrition-packed meal, think about this general rule: Keep cooking time, temperature, and the amount of liquid and fat to a minimum. Boost flavor with culinary herbs like fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and marjoram—and don’t forget the garlic!”

To learn more about Ruth, visit her web site livinghealthykitchen.com to watch her efforts to make kitchens healthier.

On my next post, I’ll share 10 healthy meal examples of this practice in action. Here’s to your health!

BROWSE THE AGA CAST IRON COLLECTION >>

How to Slow Cook in Your AGA like a Crockpot

aga-slow-cooking

If there’s one more thing an AGA can do best, it’s slow-cooked food, really easily.  The gentle, consistent heat of the AGA simmering oven offers ideal conditions to slow cook casseroles, cakes or roasts at an even temperature with little moisture loss for succulent results every time.

As a matter of fact, the temperature of the AGA simmering oven is equivalent to the low setting of a conventional crockpot. That means you can convert any crockpot recipe to the AGA slow-cooking method. And here’s how.


BASIC AGA SLOW COOKING PRINCIPLES:

STEP ONE: Food must be heated first before it will cook in the simmering oven.  Start the cooking process with either of these two methods:

  1. Bring to a boil on the boiling plate to make sure the food and cooking dish are hot all the way through, or,
  2. Place the dish in the Roasting Oven for 15 – 30 minutes, until bubbling hot.

STEP TWO: Cover food with a lid or foil to prevent a crust from forming on the surface, then transfer to the simmering oven to finish slow cooking for the designated time.


New to AGA slow cooking? Give this recipe a try!

Southwestern Risotto
Southwestern Risotto

Southwestern Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the AGA large cast iron dish on the boiling plate. Meanwhile, heat the broth and water in a stockpot on the simmering plate.
  2. Sauté the rice, coriander, onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the hot broth and water, and bring the dish back to a simmer.
  4. Using oven mitts, place the lid on the dish and transfer to the lower rack of the simmering oven.
  5. Check after 20 to 30 minutes, not stirring, but monitoring the absorption of liquid. Leave in the oven until the rice is tender and creamy but still somewhat firm.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, remove the cast iron dish and add the finishing touches. Stir in the cheese, hot sauce, corn and red bell peppers. Fini!
https://www.agamarvel.com/slow-cook-aga-like-crockpot/

 BROWSE THE AGA CAST IRON COLLECTION >>

Candied Walnuts or Pecans with Holiday Spices

4428516576_43cd6d6fb4_b

With their crunchy, sweet-spiced coating, these nibbles are great at parties and they are healthy! They also make an ideal homemade Christmas gift when packaged and tied with a pretty ribbon.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 oz walnut or pecan halves

Directions

  • Put the sugar, water, orange zest and spices onto the AGA ultimate baking tray.
  • Stir together and add the nuts.
  • Cook in your AGA Roasting Oven (or simmer on your stove top) until the liquid has evaporated and the nuts have absorbed the flavors. Cool before serving.

Source: Bonnie Fleming

Mulled Spiced Wine

11499584884_15fa3db111_c

Thaw out this winter with a glass of mulled spiced wine to warm you up from the inside.  This recipe calls for an extra punch of rich liquor.

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles red wine
  • 2 oranges
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ – 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup liquor (Cointreau, Brandy, Grand Marnier, Cognac)

Directions for AGA Cast Iron Range

  • Shave a few peels of orange zest, then slice orange and add to an AGA Danish Pot or large stockpot.
  • Pour all ingredients in and let sit on the back of your AGA (can stay several days, add water to dilute if needed).
  • You may also start pot in simmering oven for speed, but DO NOT let come to a boil.
  • Serve warm.

Directions for Conventional Range

  • Add ingredients to large stockpot and simmer, but DO NOT let come to a boil.
  • Serve warm.

Source: Katherine Vest

Bruschetta on Ciabatta Toast

6797330181_f405439b73_b

A classic appetizer, bruschetta (pronounced brusketta) combines the bursting flavors of garden-fresh tomatoes with robust garlic, basil and creamy mozzarella cheese, layered on a crunchy ciabatta toast.

Ingredients

  • Ciabatta loaf
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 5 – 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • Basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 package whole mozzarella, sliced

Directions

  • Cut a ciabatta loaf into slices, about ½” thick.
  • Brush with olive oil and place on baking tray and toast on the floor of the Roasting Oven or 450°F in a conventional oven. Alternatively, you also can use the AGA grill pan. Get grill pan hot and toast until the bread is “branded” with stripes on both sides.
  • Rub the toasted bread with a half a garlic clove and season with sea salt and black pepper. Top with sliced mozzarella and place back in the oven briefly, just until the cheese becomes soft and slightly melted. Top with chopped tomatoes and torn basil leaves. If you like extra flavor, add chopped red onion and garlic. Serve warm.

Try This Variation

  • Crumble Gorgonzola mixed with Mascarpone and finished with a walnut half.

AGA Hot Spiced Mulled Cider

6425785291_4194fdc483_oMulled Cider Recipe

Warm up with this festive holiday drink, served piping hot with a fresh cinnamon stick.  You’ll love the rich aroma of mulled cider and spices filling your home with the spirit of the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 pints dry or sweet cider
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 3 allspice berries (whole allspice)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

Directions

Place all ingredients in the large AGA 6L casserole or stockpot and bring to a boil. Take heat down, and simmer for 15 minutes. If you have an AGA cast iron range, transfer from boiling plate to the simmering oven for 15 minutes. Strain and serve hot with a cinnamon stick.

Ralph Lauren Kitchen for the Holidays with Red AGA Range

ralph-lauren-2016-christmas-window-display-aga-total-control

A claret AGA Total Control cast iron range adds a pop of holiday color to the 2016 Ralph Lauren Christmas window display. (We think Mrs. Claus would approve.) Photo credit: Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Kitchen in “The Season of Style” Christmas window display includes a holiday red AGA cast iron range

Every year in the heart of the New York City shopping district, the department stores of Fifth Avenue unveil magnificent window displays to eager spectators, a city custom that dates back to the 19th century and often takes months to plan and implement.

“Window tourism is, after all, a time-honored New York holiday tradition,” says Matthew Schneier of the New York Times. “Typically five million visitors come to the city between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve alone.”

Luxury designer label Ralph Lauren was no exception to this year’s festivities. Under clandestine cover, the creative team concepted three new window displays, a carefully protected secret until the big reveal in November. This year’s theme for the Ralph Lauren Home collection incorporates a claret AGA Total Control cast iron range, a festive complement to their inviting cabin kitchen.

“I’m about longevity, I’m about timeless,” Mr. Lauren describes his style.

The holiday window display is featured at the Ralph Lauren flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, adjacent to the famed Polo Bar, a clubhouse of sorts for an array of celebrities followed by the flashbulbs of paparazzi on a weekly basis.

The display will remain open until the first week of January.

If you venture out to see this window display, snap a photo and share it on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to tag AGA Ranges, and tell us what you think!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Mint Infusion

cranberry-sauce

Fresh cranberry sauce with mint infusion

Looking for a new twist on traditional cranberry sauce for the holidays? This homemade cranberry sauce recipe adds an invigorating infusion of fresh mint flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 bag (12 oz) cranberries, fresh
  • 1 bunch mint, fresh

Directions

  • In a saucepan, add sugar, orange juice, zest, ginger and nutmeg and simmer until dissolved.
  • Add berries, and simmer for 30 minutes until berries have popped and sauce has thickened. (Hint: if you have an AGA cast iron range, transfer the saucepan to the simmering oven and relax for 30 minutes.)
  • Chop mint leaves and add just before serving.

Source: Katherine Vest